Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

Edited by Fernando Espada, Juliano Fiori, Duncan McLean, Tanja Müller, Michaël Neuman, Róisín Read, Isabelle Schläpfer, Gemma Sou, Bertrand Taithe

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Journal Information

  • ISSN: 2515-6411 (Online)
  • Frequency: triannual


The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs is an exciting, new open access journal hosted jointly by The Humanitarian Affairs Team at Save the Children UK, and Centre de Réflexion sur l’Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires MSF (Paris) and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester. It will contribute to current thinking around humanitarian governance, policy and practice with academic rigour and political courage. The journal will challenge contributors and readers to think critically about humanitarian issues that are often approached from reductionist assumptions about what experience and evidence mean. It will cover contemporary, historical, methodological and applied subject matters and will bring together studies, debates and literature reviews. The journal will engage with these through diverse online content, including peer reviewed articles, expert interviews, policy analyses, literature reviews and ‘spotlight’ features.

Our rationale can be summed up as follows: the sector is growing and is facing severe ethical and practical challenges. The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs will provide a space for serious and inter-disciplinary academic and practitioner exchanges on pressing issues of international interest.

The journal aims to be a home and platform for leading thinkers on humanitarian affairs, a place where ideas are floated, controversies are aired and new research is published and scrutinised. Areas in which submissions will be considered include humanitarian financing, migrations and responses, the history of humanitarian aid, failed humanitarian interventions, media representations of humanitarianism, the changing landscape of humanitarianism, the response of states to foreign interventions and critical debates on concepts such as resilience or security.

Editorial Board



Fernando Espada, Save the Children

Juliano Fiori, Save the Children

Duncan McLean, MSF Switzerland – UREPH

Tanja Müller, University of Manchester

Michaël Neuman, MSF-CRASH

Róisín Read, University of Manchester

Isabelle Schläpfer, University of Manchester

Gemma Sou, University of Manchester and RMIT University

Bertrand Taithe, University of Manchester

Managing Editor

Isabelle Schläpfer, Humanitarian and Conflict Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL

Email: [email protected]

Advisory Board

Sharon Abramowitz, The State University of New Jersey

Heba Aly, The New Humanitarian

Urvashi Aneja, Jindal School of International Affairs

Laetitia Atlani Duault, IRD – Paris University / FMSH / Columbia University

John Borton, HPG, Overseas Development Institute

Jeff Crisp, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and Chatham House

Samir Elhawary, OCHA

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University of College London

Dorothea Hilhorst, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Shani Orgad, London School of Economics and Political Science

David Rieff, non-fiction writer and journalist


The editors encourage the submission of inter-disciplinary papers that challenge and advance the growing area of Humanitarian Affairs. Details of the types of articles, including extent, themes and approach are below. Articles should be prepared according to the journal’s guidelines and authors can review the author resources area for more information on how to write and prepare their article and other MUP policies.

Online submissions are made via the JHA ScholarOne website:

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs is an Open Access journal. No fee is payable by the author or their institution to submit or publish in the journal.

Types of articles

Research article

Maximum extent 7,000 words including abstract and bibliography.

Original research articles are encouraged on any aspect of humanitarianism, encompassing both theoretical and/or practice-based issues. Articles should advance knowledge about the field of humanitarianism, including articles on the broader implications of the topic as well as those focused more narrowly on specific case studies, practices or concepts. The humanitarian sector is rapidly changing and faces a range of ethical, political and practical challenges. Therefore, the editors welcome original research contributions which critically engage with how these challenges are being negotiated in theory and in practice. In turn, contributions will draw from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including, but not limited to, anthropology, cultural studies, economics, law, history, organisational studies, philosophy, politics, public health and sociology.

We particularly encourage interdisciplinary papers and those that use innovative approaches to interrogate the field and identify new areas of inquiry. Topics include, but are not restricted to, humanitarian financing, migrations and responses, the history of humanitarian aid, failed humanitarian interventions, media representations of humanitarianism, the changing landscape of humanitarianism, the response of states to foreign interventions, critical debates on concepts such as resilience, sustainability, security, etc. Manuscripts should be original contributions and should not have been published elsewhere or be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. We aim to appeal to a broad audience, so articles should be written in an accessible English and any specialist terms should be clearly explained.


Maximum extent 1,000 words including abstract and bibliography.

Op-eds should relate directly to the theme of the journal issue. Authors should concisely put forward an opinion, supported by argument and evidence that engages with existing debates or opens up new debates. Op-eds can focus on practical or theoretical questions, but preference will be given to those that speak to both practitioners and academics.

Field report and situation analysis

Maximum extent 3,500 words including abstract and bibliography.

Each issue of the journal will include two pieces reflecting on humanitarian programmes, recounting experiences of humanitarian practice, or providing analysis on a particular programme or response. These can be written as descriptive reports, analytical essays, or chronicles/diaries. Focused on experience, they should give particular attention to tensions and contradictions, innovative practices, challenges and struggles, and stories of success and failure.

Literature review

Maximum extent 4,000 words including abstract and bibliography.

Literature reviews or extended book reviews should contain the state of the art pertinent to a particular topic, present clearly to readers the challenges and debates around this topic and give indications on where to find the best sources. We expect this section of the journal to open doors and facilitate further critical engagements. Authors who wish to concentrate on a major new publication are invited to present it in relation to the wider literature. Authors who wish to concentrate on a debate and its wider literature are invited to present their argument through a clear and concise exposé if the state of the art. Submissions should normally be no longer than 4,000 words. Longer texts may be acceptable subject to discussion with the editor. Submissions will be reviewed by the editorial committee of the journal and are subject to approval.


Call for Papers

Special issue Journal of Humanitarian Affairs: Gender and humanitarianism

Call for Papers

Background and scope:

While issues of ‘gender’ and ‘gender mainstreaming’ have been programming and policy priorities in the humanitarian sphere for some time, surprisingly little attention has been played to the ways in which the humanitarian sector is gendered. Gender is often seen as an operational problem and much of the humanitarian literature which deals with this is, thus, problem-solving in nature. Critical approaches to gender within the humanitarian sector are conspicuously absent, while they figure prominently in related fields such as development and peace and conflict studies.

Intersecting gendered and racialized power dynamics haunt the humanitarian sector, yet are too rarely the explicit focus of research. The gendered concept of ‘care’; militarised and masculine romanticised representations of aid workers; and the recent #aidtoo movement drawing attention to the levels of sexual harassment and discrimination in the humanitarian sector are just some of the topics in this area which warrant more attention and highlight the need for more reflection the gender dynamics of the sector.

This special issue invites articles which address these themes, from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches.  In particular, we are keen for contributors to reflect on questions such as: How are practices of humanitarianism gendered? How do different bodies impact how people experience humanitarian space? How is humanitarianism implicated in the creation and maintenance gendered power structures? We also encourage reflection on cultures of masculinity and the paternalistic and patriarchal aspects of the international aid system.

In addition to research articles, the journal invites alternative format submissions, especially from practitioners and recipients of humanitarian aid. Here we would encourage reflective pieces, commentary, field reports and others. If you have an idea about an alternative submission, please contact the editor.

Deadline, Submission and Review Process

  • Initial abstract submission: please email abstracts to Róisín Read (University of Manchester) on [email protected]– November 5th 2019
  • Notification of acceptance – November 8th 2019
  • Initial manuscript submission – February 2020
  • Final manuscript submission – August 2020
  • Expected publication date – December 2020


For any questions regarding this special issue, please contact Róisín Read (University of Manchester) on [email protected]


See here for our full ethics statement.

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